The Smiling Skull is a nostalgic place for me. The ambient lighting, loud music and townies intermixing with students and students intermixing with illegal substances creates a mildly entertaining atmosphere reminiscent of personal experiences. During freshman year, I went to my fair share of punk shows at the Skull where I was packed tight with different kinds of people. I ventured down to the Skull for the nostalgia. Others came because of a fundraiser for Kairos, which is a student organization focused on spirituality. They're a non-religious, non-denominational group.
I was late to the show. Like, fifteen minutes late. Not much, but late enough to walk halfway in on Vagrant Beat. Those dudes are my friends and we actually, sort of, planned this. That's how we hang out most of the time. I come to their shows and watch them play, then we sit around for the rest of the bands and talk or enjoy music. Sometimes both, rarely neither.
There was a reason I was late, though. In case you weren't aware, NBC's Community aired three final episodes of the show that night and I wasn't going to miss those. I'm sad that this is the last moment (possibly) aired from the show. Honestly, if you missed last night's episodes, run over to Hulu and check those out now. The hashtags #sixseasonsandamovie and #SAVECOMMUNITY won't do anything if you ask me. Honestly, we should all capture NBC's headquarters and turn off all the air conditioners.
Back to the show.
The boys in Vagrant Beat played a bunch of new songs and, to no one's surprise, I liked them. A couple difficulties with cords and electronics set some of the songs up for failure and a rather lackluster crowd didn't help the band's performance. But I was glad that I got to see them play. It has been a while and I haven't heard much of the band's new material.
The members of the band and I settled in to a cozy table and watched the rest of the show. People flooded in after we sat down and Melk took the stage performing to a rather full house. When I came up to the bar, Melk's drummer dropped a bunch of equipment on the sidewalk right outside. I helped him pick it up. He said, "Aw, thanks man." Then he walked away. They played well.
I'll admit, I did not stay for the entire show. I hear the closing band, Riley, is cool and that the band came all the way from Dayton to play. Here's my generic PR review of the band: Riley's music is good and definitely a buy. I'm sure they are much more deserving of that, but hey, I was hungry and tired and it was late.
I did, however, watch Zapaño play a rather interesting set. Interesting as in they didn't play the usual stuff, or at least what I am usually used to. And I know that it was unusual because the people I was with made the same comment. I enjoy those guys' set whenever they play. I'd speak more highly of them if I thought that they were the type of band that basked in the praise of reviewers like myself, but somehow I get the feeling that they're beyond that. One request for the band though: don't take that "Black Magic" song out of your set. Regardless, the new stuff was "dope." Possibly a shameless plug to follow me on Twitter, too.
I came to the Skull, "scene" what I wanted to see, heard great musicians play even better music, saw great friends and conquered the long walk back to my bedroom from the Skull. Dope.
ACRN.com's Scene and Heard: Local Music Recap strives to comprehensively cover the happenings of Athens music scene. Each week our editors, writers, and photographers hit live shows, basement parties with sweet bands, bar mitzvahs with badass DJs, etc. around town and report back with the action on the scene. Note: If you want someone from ACRN.com to check out your event, e-mail email@example.com.